World champion Tom Pidcock started his cross season last weekend, Mathieu van der Poel can play in his playground for the first time in Hulst on Sunday.

We will have to wait until December 4 for Wout van Aert to enter Antwerp . “Actually, I would have liked to have been there in Kortrijk this coming weekend,” Van Aert admits.

“But I think I’m not ready for that conditionally. Due to illness and a longer inactivity, I’m a little less advanced than I would like.”

After the World Cup on the road, a lingering cold kept Van Aert off the bike longer than he wanted.

“The cold didn’t seem bad enough to rest. I then started exercising and cycling again, which made the cold worse.”

“In the end I had to take antibiotics. That’s why I started my preparation with a lower level.”

Despite the disrupted preparation, Van Aert is not worried.

“I have been able to prepare well in recent weeks. But it is difficult to estimate where I will finish in the first cross.”

When Van Aert entered the field last year, he immediately whirled to 7 victories in a row. Expecting the same this season seems unrealistic.

“Of course I hope to compete for the win as soon as possible, especially during the Christmas period.”

“I consider the first crosses this season as a run-up. Hopefully the level will return soon and I can work towards the World Cup.”

Is that World Cup (in Hoogerheide) the only important cross for Van Aert this winter? “It’s the only game where I make a very big goal.”

“But in the end I think all crosses in which I participate are important, because every cross feels like coming home. The World Cup is the only competition that I really peak at.”

The provisional program of Wout van Aert

  • 4/12 – Antwerp (WB)
  • 11/12 – Dublin (WB)
  • 23/12 – Mole (Exact Cross)
  • 26/12 – Gavere (WB)
  • 27/12 – Heusden-Zolder (Superprestige)
  • 28/12 – Diegem (Superprestige)
  • 30/12 – Loenhout (Exact Cross)
  • 05/02 – World Cup in Hoogerheide

Source: Sporza

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Peggy McColl

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